Birds on the Move

Some birds, like the golden-cheeked warbler are endangered because of habitat alteration.

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According to a National Audubon Society report on birds and climate change, 314 of the 588 North American bird species studied will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080.

Ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, says climate change is impacting these species. As the temperatures rise, birds move north. Another reason is habitat alteration.

The interesting thing is that probably four or five decades ago there was another pulse or movement of birds that might not have been related to climate change. And what some people have suggested is a lot of these birds are extending their range because of fire suppression where grasslands were probably a good barrier to a lot of these woodland birds. And now that we don’t have fires to maintain grass, we have trees encroaching. Things like mesquite, huisache and retama are increasing, and a lot of those South Texas birds are moving in response to that.

Some birds, like the golden-cheeked warbler, are already endangered because of habitat alteration. And if something’s not done to restore the habitat, many more birds could find themselves without a suitable home.

They’re specialized they need a very specific habitat and when that is whittled away, they’re not able to adapt to other environments.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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